in Curating, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)
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What about Activism?
Otherness and Othering are always already under the condition of other-than-sameness. Whether we are speaking of Michel Foucault’s foundational claim at the beginning of Les mots et les choses in which he writes about similitude, resemblance, and thus political relationships or we speak of Édouard Glissant’s notion of opacity and its intrinsic component of alterity, a state of opposition is understood in relation to the Other. The question, then, of activism within the cultural sphere—the sphere of cultural producers as citizens and the civic sphere as the manifold siting of boundaries to be crossed—is the subject of the new book What about Activism? to be discussed with its editor, Steven Henry Madoff.
Steven Henry Madoff is the founding chair of the MA Curatorial Practice program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. He has curated internationally and served as senior critic at Yale University’s School of Art. Madoff was executive editor of ARTnews and president and editorial director of AltaCultura, a project of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He has contributed essays to collections such as After the Educational Turn: Critical Art Pedagogies and Decolonialism (Black Dog Press, 2018); La valeur de l’art (Beaux-arts de Paris, 2018); To Seminar (Metropolis M, 2017); and Handbook for Artistic Research Education (ELIA, 2013). His books include What about Activism? (Sternberg Press, 2019); Art School (Propositions for the 21st Century) (MIT Press, 2009); Christopher Wilmarth: Light and Gravity (Princeton University Press, 2004); and Pop Art: A Critical History (University of California Press, 1997). His criticism and journalism have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Time, Artforum, Art in America, Tate Etc., ARTnews, and Modern Painters, where he served as contributing editor. Madoff is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Academy of American Poets, among others.